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The International Writers Magazine

Blood Diamond (2007)
Directed by Edward Zwick
Screenwriter Charles Leavitt
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio,Djimon Hounsou,Jennifer Connelly,
Kagiso Kuypers, Arnold Vosloo, Michael Sheen
Holly Joy review

Diamonds are forever! A symbol of love and beauty!To the majority, a diamond ring or necklace would be an expensive treat symbolising love and loyalty. Those lucky enough to receive one will wear it with pride. I am sure that these feelings would change after watching this film; I know mine did. Witnessing the struggle of finding the diamonds through slave labour, held at gunpoint, having no other thought in their minds but ‘am I going to survive the day?’ is far from the thoughts of those receiving a sparkling diamond.

I would have never considered going to see a film such as Blood Diamond; the trailer was full of action packed violence with a gangster like background to it. However, after hearing that the film was based on true facts and events it intrigued me and I felt as though I should go and watch it.

The film was nothing like I expected; it was so intense I felt as though I was involved within the film. Scenes are extremely graphic, yet utterly realistic, explosive violence and torture are shown, but this is to emphasise the pain and struggle of everyday life in Sierra Leone, which others around the world take advantage of.

This film forces fantasy back to reality, conflict diamonds may be beautiful stones and worth a lot of money but they are also cost a lot in blood and lives, which many consumers seems oblivious to. The plot outlines the process of the world diamond trade from when they are found to being shown on models in major cities across the globe.

There is a strong storyline of African poverty and the struggle to survive. Through Solomon Vandy played by Djimon Hounsou, we see the daily chore to feed his family. His village was invaded by the Sierra Leonean Rebels, and after capture he is forced to work the mines or be killed. Later he is the key to a deal involving a huge diamond hidden by him in the bush.

Enter Danny Archer played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Danny uses his skills and keeps his link with the South African army to become part of the smuggling trade of the diamonds in order to make a lot of money. When he hears of Solomon he arranges for the man to be freed. He uses Solomon every inch of the way, seemingly uncaring of the troubles Solomon has experienced.
Meanwhile there is one journalist in town, Maddy Bowen played by Jennifer Connelly, come to tell the world the exact story behind confict diamonds. All she needs is help from those who know, people like Danny Archer, who, of course isn't going to tell.

Personally, I found the film extremely informative. I think that this story will make other members of the public take a moment to think of those less fortunate in life. The closest those people will get to a diamond is digging it out of mines with a shotgun pointing directly at their head. This film may edge people into wanting to help those in Africa, and although political problems have been noted within Africa, it needs something more visual to force people to pay full attention. This is what ‘Blood Diamond’ does. Jennifer Connelly’s character is therefore reflecting the political thoughts of society. For example, she mentions that her report could just end up being another story that people read and discard, what she needs is pictures, facts and statistics. The only way to get people to understand the real horror is to show them; shock them, enable the readers to relate to stories involving African poverty and anarchy.

Leonardo gives a brilliant and credible performance as the anti-hero from Zimbabwe and you realise that he too has experienced Africa's horrors. Dijmon Hounsou is brilliant as Solomon and together the two men eat up the screen.

Although this drama was made as entertainment, I learned something from it,even through many of the scenes I found myself covering my eyes trying to block out some of the graphic details of the fighting. However, this made me realise the problems other countries and continents face everyday. These people are unfamiliar with the daily luxuries of life like a home and somewhere safe to sleep, they are constantly fighting for their lives both day and night. Children are kidnapped from their loving families and are made to kill innocent people, forced to take drugs and perform criminal offences, which is out of their power as if they do not they will be killed instantly. This is not how a child should grow up, but without help from around the world there is no stopping these horror stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed the themes and storylines of this film as it widened my knowledge of events happening in the world around me. I don’t think I would ever be able to look at another diamond in the same way.

© Holly Joy Feb 20th 2007>

Holly is about to graduate from the University of Portsmouth Creative Arts programme

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